Following its performance to a sold out audience at Frankston Arts Centre on Saturday evening (13 July), John Bell’s highly acclaimed Madama Butterfly is set to tour the north of Australia, from Queensland’s sunny beaches, through the red centre to coastal communities of Western Australia.
Performed in Italian with English surtitles, audiences can enjoy an authentic experience of one of the world’s most popular operas. Madama Butterfly tells the tragic tale of two lovers separated by culture, oceans and time, with stunning visuals and memorable performances promising to place this opera as a firm favourite in hearts across the country.
Over 23 years Opera Australia has presented more than 600 fully-staged performances in 115 different locations, and covered almost 300,000 kms. This year, a traveling troupe of 30 people including cast, crew, and a chamber orchestra tours across the nation to bring the traditional operatic experience to new audiences.
The 7-week tour visits regional and metropolitan locations in five states – Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia – giving 24 performances in 20 locations, including two new towns where Opera Australia hasn’t performed before, Maryborough and Mackay.
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, is passionate about bringing opera to new audiences of all ages, backgrounds and locations. “Everyone at Opera Australia is thrilled to be presenting, with our local partners, this wonderful production of Madama Butterfly,” said Terracini.
“We have engaged exceptional singers who will enable audiences to hear this beautiful music sung in the original language, with surtitles, at the highest level. It is a feast for the senses!”
After a record breaking season in 2018, Chinese soprano Sharon Zhai reprises the shared titular role of Cio-Cio-San, known as ‘Madame Butterfly’ with South Korean-born soprano Eva Kong making her role debut. Australian tenor Matthew Reardon returns as Lieutenant Pinkerton, a US naval officer, shared with internationally praised tenor Bradley Daley.
This year also marks Chinese-Australian mezzo-soprano Barbara Jin’s Opera Australia debut as Suzuki. This emotionally riveting production brings together two contrasting worlds through clever set design and colourful costumes by Australian designers Jennie Tate and Julie Lynch.
The vibrant production is coloured further by Puccini’s magnificent score, including the famous Humming Chorus and heart breaking Un bel di Vedremo (One Fine Day), performed with a chamber orchestra conducted by Paul Fitzsimon – one of Australia’s leading conductors to emerge in the last decade.
Opera Australia’s National Tour also provides an opportunity for local children to participate in the production through the Regional Children’s Chorus program. Under the direction of Regional Children’s Chorus Master Mark Connors, children are selected by local choir leaders and learn the music from Madama Butterfly before joining the professional cast for rehearsals and then on stage for the performance.
Conductor: Paul Fitzsimon Director: John Bell Revival Director: Liesel Badorrek Featuring: Eva Kong, Sharon Zhai, Bradley Daley, Matthew Reardon, Barbara Jin, Andrew Moran, Michael Lapina, Steven Gallop, Shoumendu Schornikow, Kristen Leich Regional Children’s Chorus Master: Mark Connors Designer: Jennie Tate Designs Realisation: Julie Lynch Lighting Designer: Matt Scott Choreographer: Sachiko Tange Revival Choreographer: Matthew Barclay
Madama Butterfly will be presented throughout Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia in July and August 2019. For more information, including performance dates and venues, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Opera Australia’s regional touring production of Madama Butterfly (supplied)